Sunday, July 09, 2017

Ask Me Anything, I Dare You... Oh, No-- That Was Last Week


Just over 10 years ago I started a series of on-line interviews for candidates Blue America was working with and it went for several cycles until I just became too bored with it to continue. But in its heyday it was a blast and an opportunity for Blue America donors to ask questions of the candidates we were asking them to contribute to. A few weeks ago the folks at Digital Left and the Sanders For President reddit asked me to be the guest for an AMA-- Ask Me Anything. At first, I didn't realize it was pretty much the same thing as the interview series we used to with our candidates at FireDogLake. Except the shoe was going too be on the other foot.

Here's the completed AMA archive in case you'd like to go through all the questions and my responses. This was the original intro I wrote-- before the hosts laughed and told me it was too verbose and suggested we cut it down rather drastically.
I'm happy to take questions about my blog, DownWithTyranny or about the Blue America PAC... or anything else. A little background: I grew up in the same Flatbush neighborhood as Bernie and we went to the same elementary and high schools, PS-197 and James Madison, although a few years apart. But I believe the environment in that part of FDR-loving Brooklyn helped each of us come to similar conclusions about the roll of government, politics and activism. It was a milieu where equality of opportunity was a cherished value and where things like racism, xenophobia, sexism, authoritarianism, etc were very much not encouraged.

I was freshman class president in college and involved myself very viscerally in the liberation politics of the 1960s. After college I decided I couldn't live in a U.S. that was ravaging the technologically backward countries of southeast Asia. So I lived abroad for 7 years. That turned out well for me on many levels including giving me a leg up in my eventual business career and led directly to me becoming a divisional president at the Warner Music Group. When I retired a few years ago I started blogging and upped my game as an activist, founding Blue America to help independent-minded progressive candidates run competitively against well-financed conservatives. Blue America, which you can find here, works primarily to elect congressional candidates. The only presidential candidate we've ever endorsed was Bernie Sanders, the only presidential candidate who has met our standards.

In the past Blue America has fought-- while the DCCC has not-- to hold Paul Ryan electorally accountable, something we hope will culminate next year with the victory of @IronStache (Randy Bryce) over him. We have backed long-shot candidates who have won unlikely victories over entrenched incumbents before, like Donna Edwards (MD), Alan Grayson (FL), Beto O'Rourke (TX), Matt Cartwright (PA) and some of the Blue America "alumni" are among the most effective resistance fighters in Congress-- Pramila Jayapal (WA), Judy Chu (CA), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Jamie Raskin (MD), Keith Ellison (MN), Barbara Lee (CA) and Ted Lieu (CA) come immediately to mind.
During the "event" 3 Berniecrat candidates showed up to participate: Wendy Reed (CA), Randy Bryce (WI) and Derrick Crowley (TX). There was at least one crazy person who kept insisting Ted Lieu doesn't support single payer (he does) and that he's not a co-sponsor of John Conyers' Medicare-For-All bill (he is), but it was otherwise a friendly and knowledgeable crowd and I hope they'll have more of the Blue America candidates on to do their own AMAs. A few weeks ago they did one with Katie Hill-- and sent us this video from the session:

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At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Katie sure sounds like a fine person and would, apparently, make a fine rep... if this weren't the usa in 2016. See below.

But the questions in her AMA were the same simplistic claptrap from the barely sentient yet somewhat current on issue talking points. Her answers were of the same ilk: She's for this or that but doesn't say anything about how, or even if, they can be accomplished. And she never says why they cannot ever be accomplished in today's America:

1) money. taxes must be raised... a shitload. And they must be raised on the rich (even on wealth rather than on just income) back to jFK levels. How is she going to cajole 51% of 534 tax-averse politicians to do this? (hint: cannot be done)
2) Pelosi/hoyer. If she wins, she'll be less than 1/2 of 1% of the democrap contingent. If that contingent is 216 or less, like now, she'll be .4% of an irrelevant contingent and can SAY anything she wants, subject to being redacted by Pelosi's dictats. If they are 218 or more, she'll be .4% of the contingent who will only be allowed to propose, vote on and maybe pass whatever the tyrannical Pelosi deems acceptable to her donors. What does she intend to do in either case?
3) climate. already too late. So seas will rise. The geologic record indicates 10 - 60 METERS within the century, given the projected atmospheric carbon flux projections. So what does she plan to advocate (and have Pelosi quash) about slowing/ending emissions *AND* remediation to coastal communities that WILL be inundated. CA has a long coast, last I looked. That coast will get a lot closer to AZ and UT pretty soon. Make dikes out of all the corpses generated by drumpfdeath? what?

Granted, her job will be to rep the poor saps in her district. As such she'll be more concerned with the deck chair arrangement on the Titanic than bigger picture items... but it sure would be nice to know if she has any clue at all about these things.

In either case, I hope her district can yank their heads outta their asses for a moment and elect her. And Bryce in WI-01 too. Not that either/both of them CAN fix anything. But at least they probably would if it were at all possible. Better than what we got now.

At 6:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An addendum to the above wrt climate.

Katie, if you read this blog, please read and reply if you can:

At 6:44 AM, Blogger David Fredrick said...

Man. That's a bleak, cynical view. You might be right about some of it, I'll admit that, but if we are ever going to get anything done we are going to have to be a bit more optimistic.

As for Katie's "hows" during her AMA: did you ask her? Or just pop in and tsk-tsk your way through her answers. A Reddit AMA thrives of on interaction, and candidates SHOULD be asked hard questions.

At 10:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, I missed the AMA... unaware. I might have asked during a lull, but I would tend to leave the questions to her own constituents, of whom I am not one.

I was far more disappointed in the questions than in the pretty predictable answers. Not that the answers were bad. Just that the questions were not very thorough.

And my view is NOT cynical. It's based on 40 years of observing the gamesmanship and play acting in congress. Among democraps, the Clintons, Pelosi and scummer are despots who are all in sync on corruption, tactics and strategy. Obama is even subordinate to these.
Nothing is done; no candidates are supported; nothing is even released to the press without the despots approval. Back in 2009, harriet reid was in the mix but was subordinate to these despots. He was also in sync and did what he was told, which primarily was:
1) kill all PO amendments to ACA that came from the house
2) let the Rs kill (by threat and/or by cloture) whatever progressive stuff the Ds pretended to put forward. Keep the filibuster. Part of this was eating shit wrt the SC seat. They could have done what mcturtle did to get gorsuch confirmed, but refused.

No... not cynical.

A cynical person would take all that he observed in 50+ years of watching and wonder how much longer these assholes will bother with the charade. It takes a lot of money, time and effort to suppress voters, fool other voters, corrupt and game the system and put on the public performances so that money reigns more supreme every cycle. At some point, I think fairly soon (based on the apathy of voters on the left and on Bernie taking that screw job in '16) voting will become archaic. It kind of already is. Fully a third of us never even bother... and why would we anyway.


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